From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,”...

Thirteen young musicians of diverse ethnic background ready themselves to play their traditional Chinese instruments on stage in this informative and gracefully illustrated twin debut.

Jiang, a composer, presents upbeat, free-verse poems in the children’s voices about their instruments or their mental states: “When I tune my erhu, / I only need to listen to / Two strings. So easy!” These are paired to sidebar historical and descriptive notes, associated legends and characterizations of the distinctive sounds each instrument makes. Chu’s illustrations are rendered in clearly drawn lines and soft, harmonious colors. They depict each musician in turn playing his or her instrument in rehearsals or solo performances with, often, imagined natural landscapes, animals or mythical beasts floating behind. The preparation culminates in a concert seen in an elevated view of orchestra and audience, followed by a final lineup to take a bow beneath a closing note on characteristics of classical Chinese music.

From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,” a lively medley that will expand the musical boundaries of most young audiences. (bibliography) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-885008-50-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014



Burleigh uses the familiar game of soccer to demonstrate the power of teamwork to achieve success. Down to the last few minutes of a league soccer game with the score tied, the goal in this case is scoring and winning. Short, clipped phrases are used to convey the pace and intensity in the final moments of a tight game. "Players backpedaling. / Digging heels. / Explosions of gouged grass. / Mark tight! Guard the line!" Reading it out loud causes a certain breathiness, like listening to one of the players zigzagging across the field. Describing what it's like to be charging "in a wall of wild bodies," knees flailing, "all wheeling as one," watching the "goaltender's catlike leap," the text is given minimal space. This leaves lots of room for the action-packed pastels whose blurry outlines illustrate the fast-paced drama on the field. Close-ups take the reader off the sidelines and right into the play. Although general in its philosophical aim of promoting the positive aspects of teamwork, this book has some very soccer-specific terms, such as “needle's-eye chink,” and “chip pass unspooling,” sure to delight soccer enthusiasts. Even non-soccer players can appreciate that glorious feeling of team victory. In the end, both male and female teammates are just happy champions who leap, dance, cheer, and put their hands together, one on top of the other, to celebrate their achievement. On the very last page there's an illustration of a soccer ball entangled in the net for the final, winning "Goal. / Goal. / GOAL." A real winner. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-201789-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001



“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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